Batman, Spiderman, The Flash. They all have two things in common — they’re all superheroes and they all wear masks.
And now the same could be said about our staff and students at St. Joseph’s Indian School. We wear masks and are ready to use our superhero abilities to conquer the day!
That might be a light-hearted way to look at things, but that’s also the point. These days, we choose to look at things in a “glass half full” sort of way. Our students are looking to us to lead by example in terms of action and attitude and thanks to donor support, we can don our facemasks to help everyone stay a little safer at our school.
Considering where we started, this was quite an obstacle to overcome.
In July, St. Joseph’s put out a call for help. After donating fabric masks to people in need on reservations throughout the summer (those communities were hit especially hard with COVID-19), we needed to begin stockpiling masks for the return of students. So, we asked donors talented in the skill of sewing to fashion some masks for our students and staff to wear. And that simple call was answered with an outpouring of support. Each of our staff members and students now has a mask created by a caring donor.
“We are so thankful so many people from all over chose our school to support during such a challenging time,” said Joe, St. Joseph’s Director of Mission Integration, who had boxes and boxes of cloth masks filling his office before dispersing them to staff and students. “The students have really enjoyed all the cool patterns and designs. It helped get them excited about wearing their masks.”
But our health center staff needed masks of a higher grade, and that created a new problem to solve.
Obtaining the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep staff and students safe has been extremely difficult nationwide. Because St. Joseph’s is primarily a school, we are not seen as a priority for PPE, as the first resources need to go to clinics, hospitals and nursing homes. Yet, in order to follow CDC guidelines, we needed staff to wear surgical masks when caring for any student suspected of COVID-19 or confirmed to have COVID-19.
It was a problem we were unsure how we would solve … but once again, caring donors — more superheroes — came to the rescue.
An organization called Rising Hearts sent 650 Kn95 masks as a donation to our school to use in our health center and recovery home for students if/when confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases should arise.
“My grandfather was Nyal Brings,” said Jordan Daniel, Executive Director of Rising Hearts who coordinated the donation. “He supported the youth [at St. Joseph’s Indian School] and it’s a legacy of his that I am honored to continue.”
This donation was a tremendous blessing on several levels.
“Prices of all PPE has increased exponentially and they are expensive — especially 650 of them,” said Michelle, St. Joseph’s Director of Health and Wellness. “In addition, the masks have been very hard to get ahold of, so that is worth more than any dollar amount.”
Michelle is right. All these blessings are priceless when considering the peace of mind, safety and care they provide to our staff and students.
Philámayaye — thank you — to all the people who graciously donated masks for our superheroes to wear day-to-day. You, yourself, are also a superhero — at least in our eyes. God bless!